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Post COVID 19: The Power of Empathetic Leadership Building Stronger Connections and Driving Success

Have you ever experienced leaders in your workplace or other organizations who caused you to

pause and wonder, “How did they ever get to this position? However, before you came to the previous conclusion, you questioned your competency, dedication, and perhaps your ability to grow in the company. You might have struggled in your workplace, trying to put on a brave front at work but leaving work feeling defeated and carrying that sadness to the people closest to you. 

Does any of this sound familiar? I know I have had the “fortune” of meeting such individuals. 

However, in this article, I will refer to strong leaders who wish to improve their leadership skills

in this article. This leader has understood and mastered the importance of strong interpersonal

skills, psychological safety in the workplace, and the need to lead by example.

Leadership Post Covid 

Fortunately, there has been a global reckoning in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Empathy has been brought up regarding how people deal with others. Empathy has been cited as one of the best ways organizational leaders can help employees manage stressful times. But a new survey shows that many managers may need this quality.

Quoted from a June 11th, 2023, article in Canadian Occupational Safety, while 92% of CEOs

view their HR professionals as empathetic — a 27-point jump from 2022 — just 68% of HR

professionals view their CEO as empathetic, a 16-point decline from 2022 and the lowest levels

ever reported, according to Businessolver.

Just over two-thirds (68%) also say their organization is empathetic, down 23 points from 2022.

More HR professionals believe that their employees are empathetic (78%), even though that

number has also dropped by 16 points. 

So, what is happening? From the height of the pandemic, where individuals were encouraged to

share their thoughts and feelings, to the general “business as usual” attitude many businesses have adopted, what is happening? Businessolvers” February 2023  survey of over 1000 employees shows that HR professionals' mental health has declined.

Workplace flexibility leads the list of top empathetic benefits, while remote workers report

higher empathy perceptions than non-remote workers.

According to this survey from Businessolver, 96% of individuals surveyed believe that flexible

workplace hours, followed by 93% of flexible workplace locations, are the most critical

indicators of empathetic leadership. 

So, what exactly is empathy in the workplace as it pertains to leadership? Empathy in workplace

leadership refers to the ability of a leader to understand and share the feelings, perspectives, and experiences of their team members or employees. It involves recognizing and acknowledging the emotions and challenges others face and responding promptly with compassion and understanding. 

Empathy is essential, but leaders need to be afforded the time to understand their employees

perspectives. Too often, especially when there is a transition in leadership, assumptions about the workplace are continued. Leaders might run into challenges if this happens without taking the opportunity to reflect on the current cultural and social climate. An emphatic leader must take the time to understand and make it clear to the people they manage that this is a priority, and this journey of discovery might take some time. 

In a world where we now talk more about equity, inclusion, and diversity, empathetic leaders

must create a supportive and inclusive work environment where individuals feel heard, valued,

and supported. They take the time to actively listen, show genuine concern, and demonstrate

empathy through their actions and decisions.

However, I must add one bit of caution for leaders. In pursuing leading by empathy, you must

still be aware that you also have a responsibility to run an organization that serves the whole.

Leaders are responsible for taking the necessary steps to ensure that a business functions well

and has a strong foundation and financial reserves in what might be inevitable at some point--

challenging economic times. Empathy is a powerful tool to help build strong human connections

and drive success. However, empathy must be balanced with other leadership traits to help

ensure harmony in business. 

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or feel free to contact me.

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